Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Power of Parenthood

Someday I hope to own a large Giclee version of each of these piece by Simon Dewey - they speak to my soul and I would love to stand in front of them and look at them every day. I think they are a beautiful and powerful reminder of the role of a parent in the life of the child. He might have been the Son of God, but even Christ needed parents who were kind and loving and who taught Him the ways of God.

Peter and the Wolf soundtrack

Peter and the Wolf is a classical music story. The characters in the story are represented by a different instrument in the orchestra.

I remember listening to this as a child and loving it. One nostalgic day as I was thinking about it I thought - I wonder if I can find that anywhere. My parents had it on a record and I didn't know if it would be available on CD. There were many to choose from and the problem became finding the right one - I wanted the version I grew up with. I couldn't find the same recording, but the one on the right, with Patrick Stewart as the narrator was the one I ended up getting, and it is good.
The first time I played it for my boys (mind you they are 5 and 3 years old) they complained and wanted me to turn it off. We were in the car driving back from Cedar City (45 min drive) and they had no choice but to listen. Since that first time of reluctant listening they are now avid fans. We have left it in the car and when we go places, even just on errands, the boys request to listen to it. This has been a great way to introduce them to classical music, they love it and I enjoy listening to it. Even though we've listened to it many times I never tire of hearing it.
I have my father to thank for my love of classical music. He had many records and in the evening time he would play them. Sometimes he would put his headphones on - probably so he could hear and enjoy it over the noise of 6 kids, but I'm glad he didn't always use the headphones. Exposure to great music and time are the equation for a lifetime love of wonderful music.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aunt Sue Visits

Susan came to visit this weekend. I think she mostly used us a motel, but it was wonderful to have her here. Since she used to live here she has lots of friends and she went to the singles ward instead of church with us. Each night she was busy doing something. I'm glad she's busy enjoying being single.
Becca enjoyed having Susan around. When Susan would hold her, often she didn't want to be put down. The boys miss having Susan around and were very happy to have her come visit. Charlie told her that she had to stay for "lots more days".

Airplane Teeter totter

Jeremy saw this airplane teeter totter at Costco and knew that it was a must have for the kids. Besides bikes we don't have any outside play toys for the kids. When Jeremy called me and told me that he found a teeter totter that he wanted to get my first thought was "how boring". Teeter totters are so limited in what they can do that kids seem to bore of them quite quickly. Then he took me to Costco to show it to me and I was sold right away. This toy looked like lots of fun, it is way more than just a teeter totter. The steering wheel turns the propeller on the front and if you sit in the drivers seat you can sway the plane back and forth. The kids have lots of fun on it when neighbor kids come over - up to 7 kids can play on it at a time.

The other day I came home and the kids were running around outside and Jeremy was sitting in the drivers seat playing on it. Truly, from the moment he saw it I think Jeremy wishes he was the kid so he could play on it. The kids have enjoyed it, but I think Jeremy is the only one that loves it.

Homemade Bread

It's taken me a long time but I've finally found the perfect recipe for whole wheat bread. 100% whole wheat bread has alluded me for a long time, and after many failed loaves I am so happy I finally have a recipe that turns out perfect bread every time. - The secret is adding dough enhancer and high gluten flour. It's amazing that only a tablespoon of each of those mixed in with 10 cups of flour makes such a difference. The bread is light and soft and 100% yummy. I've tried for so long to get a good bread recipe because:

1 - store bought bread isn't very good - even the expensive kinds - they just aren't fresh
2 - store bought bread is so expensive - even the cheap white loaves (which have absolutely no nutritional value) are getting to be expensive
3 - The nutritional value of store bought bread isn't very good - even in the supposed "wheat" breads it's iffy as to how much whole wheat they use
4 - Usually the only "soft" breads are the white breads - and again nutrition is called into question
5 - There is just nothing better than fresh out of the oven bread with butter and honey - sink your teeth into that - and the smells - fresh homemade bread - permeating the house

I'm going to post my recipe on my other blog Healthy and Happy. It's my new blog that I've started to keep track of wonderful things that I find about health and well being.

My First Garden

Peas - started in a window box, which I will transfer to my garden outside very soon. The picture on the right are my tomato plants that I started. I hope they will thrive - nothing is better than fresh tomatoes - yum!

We are prepping our garden boxes with the "perfect soil". We used equal parts of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. We built the box (basically just railings to keep the dirt in) on top of existing soil instead of digging the dirt out. Doing a garden this way because it doesn't matter what existing soil is like, because you don't use it. Another nice thing is there is no rotertilling. With this soil you just add new compost to it and mix it in. This soil is very light and airy and is full of nutrients to encourage the plants to grow very nicely. I've never tried this method before - I've never tried any gardening method before - so I'm excited to see how it works out

Because I'm not using existing soil I can do this garden where ever I want. We have a place in the backyard we want to do out garden, but it isn't ready yet. Living in St. George has definite advantages to growing vegetables - I plant now (or within the next few weeks) and I start enjoying my harvest sooner. So we are starting our garden in the front yard. In the picture, the side of the lumber that Becca and Charlie are on will be filled in with soil and we will plant corn and peas and tomatoes. I haven't decided what else I would like to grow, but those for sure.

Cute Becca

Becca found this shovel and wanted to help with the digging. I thought maybe she would do it for a minute or two and then move on to something else, but I think she was there for a good ten minutes or so just digging in the dirt. What a great helper!
Becca loves being outside. When she brings me her jacket I know that she wants to go outside. Yesterday was a beautiful day and we were working in the yard. Becca had fun climbing on the plane teeter totter and digging in the dirt.

Becca put this hat on and was walking around knowing that she was cute. I pulled out the camera and she put on her best smile.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Beginnings 2008

These pictures do not do justice to how good the room looked all decorated for our New Beginnings program we held on Tuesday night.
The theme for the evening was "Becoming a STAR" (STAR = standing for truth and righteousness). The rest of this post is from my journal entry the other night.

The New Beginnings program went very well. First, the room looked great. We used the Primary room and I wanted it to be more than “just” the primary room. Luckily my sister in law Cammy had her New Beginnings a few weeks ago and they had decorated extensively and their stuff coordinated very nicely with my theme. She let me borrow their stuff and it spruced up the room so much. We covered the tables in dark navy blue table cloths and two tables, in each corner, were just accent tables that we put center pieces on. The main table up front displayed the small star boxes that I had made for each of the girls. The theme for the night was “Becoming a STAR”, based on this year’s mutual theme, “Be steadfast and immovable always abounding in good works”. The desert table was very lovely. I borrowed some nice serving trays and a beautiful punch bowl from Aunt Joan, she has a lot of fun serving stuff, she loves to serve with flair. Each of the deserts were star shaped - 3 different cookies, I made sugar cookies, Amanda made peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses on top, and Rebecca made cake cookies.
The best part of the night was the skit. I was nervous about it. It wasn’t a true skit, each of the girls had a part - but it wasn’t interactive with each other. They each had a part, 7 of them had one of the values to share a thought about and the others had a line from the Young Women theme to share a thought about. They each had to come up with their own words. I gave them a sentence, “share an experience about....” and they had to come up with it on their own. I was nervous as to how it would come out because we hadn’t rehearsed anything and I didn’t even really explain when or how they would share their part until the time of the skit. However, it couldn’t have been more beautiful. Each of the girls did an excellent job and I felt the spirit so strongly. The format of the skit was the older girls sharing about personal progress to the new Beehives. We had the new Beehives sit on the front row and as each girl came to do their part they stood in front of the Beehives and directed their comments to them. I was just in awe how wonderful it turned out. It was definately an inspired idea. The idea came together piece by piece - I knew I wanted to do a skit and have it set up the way we did it, but I had no idea what exactly to have the girls say, and I sat down a couple of times to try and “write” the skit, but nothing came. Finally Saturday night I knew I was out of time and needed to get something together so I could give it to the girls at church. I pulled out my Personal Progress book to get some ideas and inspiration, and I received some. I just typed out the scripture and quote from each of the first pages of each value, and then based my “share and experience” based on one of the value experiences of each value. It was very simple, not complicated, nothing fancy and left the majority of it up to the girls. They came through very nicely and it was a lovely program.
The program was exactly what I hoped for when I set my goals of what the night should be - Meaningful and Memorable and for me it hit on both of those. I think I will always remember this night and how well everything turned out and the beautiful spirit I felt - the love and peace and warmth that I felt was very refreshing and truly made it worth all the effort I put into planning and preparing this event.

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day to everyone.

I think my kids have had a great day if the amount of sugar consumed equals happiness in proportion to sugar intake. The morning started off with a goody bag from Grandma Honeypots and they quickly ate all the treats - they didn't however eat all the cupcakes, so I had one of those. Then they each went to preschool and came home with lots of treats and sweets. I'm thankful to all those moms who put stickers and pencils with the valentine cards, instead of the candy and suckers. As soon as the boys got home they dumped out their loot on the floor and began eating. With is scattered all over Becca quickly found much to stuff in her mouth and got sticky from head to toe. She had her mouth full of heart shaped candy and would repeatedly pull one out to inspect it and then put it back in, which just added to the stickiness of her hands and face.

This picture is the valentine card that Charlie made for Grandma Taysom.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Valentine Tag

My friend Brittany Daw "tagged" me to answer questions about Jeremy and me. I cut and pasted her questions and then answered them.

How long have you been together? We met in November of 1999.
How long did you date? We dated for 3 months, broke up for a week, dated for another few weeks, got engaged and then married April 2000.
How old is he? Jeremy is 31, I am 31, his birthday is 6 weeks after mine.
Who eats more? Jeremy
Who said "I love you" first? I don't know - probably Jeremy, I'm not always verbal with my feelings.
Who is taller? Jeremy, by an inch or so. If I wear heels we are the same.
Who sings better? I do
Who is smarter? Jeremy is. I like to read, and he thinks I'm smarter, but he can always figure things out and knows so much about everything.
Who does the laundry? I do, however, when the clean laundry sits folded in the basket for days on end he takes pity on me and puts it away ( mostly because he ran out of things to wear).
Who does the dishes? Mostly me, but he does from time to time.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? We both have, currently he does, but we are not particular to any side - I usually like the side closer to the bathroom so I don't have to stumble as far in the night.
Who pays the bills? I do.
Who mows the lawn? Jeremy does most of the time. In comparison to what I had to mow when I was growing up, our lawn is a breeze - even if it is a push mower.
Who cooks dinner? Mostly me, but Jeremy fills in the cracks (I don't know when the last time was that I cooked every single night of the week, so to save himself from cereal or sandwiches he cooks something - usually a rice dinner).
Who is more stubborn? I don't think either of us are more stubborn than the other.
Who kissed who first? Jeremy kissed me.
Who asked who out? We met on an online dating site and met in person soon after and our whole relationship was in person, the computer was just the original meeting place.
Who proposed? Jeremy did.
Who is more sensitive? We are both sensitive, but to different things.
Who has more friends? Jeremy - he is a very friendly soul and invites people to do things. I meet people and am friendly with them, but don't have many true friends that I do things with.
Who has more siblings? I do, 3 brothers and 2 sisters. He has 4 brothers
Who wears the pants in the relationship? We both do, but I am willing to wear a dress and he is not!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Laundry room makeover

It seems like we always have to have a project in the works - sometimes we finish them sometimes we don't. Today it was the laundry room. We want to use one of the walls for food storage shelves, which required us to rearrange everything in the room. We have a front loading washer so we were able to stack the washer and dryer and free up the corner of the room to now accommodate coats and shoes and bags - (the stuff that used to talk up the whole other half of the laundry room, but now only takes up a corner) the laundry room is also our mud room (ie the catch all room).
It was quite the job because we had to remove the cabinet that was above the washer and dryer, since it would no longer fit with them stacked. Then I decided to go ahead a get rid of the build in shelves because they weren't going to work for the food storage. I think Jeremy had fun demolishing them. Now that everything was torn out it seemed like a good time to paint, seeing how the walls now revealed the old paint color (behind where the shelves and the dryer used to be) and the newer paint color. Besides I had never really liked the shade of green that I had picked - it was too dark for a small, windowless room. I choose a nice bright, light shade of yellow called "banana cream" - sounds yummy.
Now, I've painted many rooms in our house (some more than one time, I am not very good at picking paint colors) and you would think I would have a good idea as to time estimation on how long a paint job should take. Well I thought the laundry room would take about and hour - I was only off by about 2 or 3 hours. I'm glad to report that we only had one paint mishap with the children (there always has to be at least one of them that gets paint on themself or something else that didn't need paint. I was able to divert Tom's attempt at a mishap, but Becca was too quick. I saw her coming and reached out to grab her before her hand got in the paint bucket, but that girl is quick and her hand dipped in before I got her. We got her quickly cleaned up and there was no real trauma.
We still have the job of getting the new shelving installed, for which I am very excited - and then start filling it with all our food storage - but other than that it is a done job. I got all the painting done and the walls are beautiful. I got the new mudroom corner all set up with the coat hooks on the wall. It feels like such a different room - like a new room.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Official announcement

Most people know, but for those that don't know yet I am pregnant with number four. I am 10 weeks pregnant and due at the end of August. We are very excited.
Charlie thinks it's a boy because we had a girl last, so now it's time for a boy. Tom thinks we should 4 more babies (not all at the same time). When I told Becca I was patting my tummy telling her there was a baby in there she leaned over and kissed my tummy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Wasting Time

I am so good at wasting time. Two hours ago I sat down to my computer to look up a "couple of things" and then I was going to sit down and prepare my Young Women lesson for Sunday. Well, here I still sit at my computer looking at this and that and I just looked at the clock and realized I wasted all my time because now it is past time for going to bed. It's so easy to get caught up in something and get sidetracked.
My lesson for Sunday is "Creating a Spiritual Environment in the Home". There are two aspects the lesson focuses on 1-physical environment, 2-attitudes. To me the physical environment is obvious - that we want our home to be neat and orderly so the spirit can dwell in our home. Some other outward things we can do is have uplifting and inspiring pictures, particularly of gospel centered things - Temple, prophets, scenes from scriptures. What we surround ourself with is a silent sermon and helps direct our thoughts whether we think about it or not.
The second aspect - attitudes - was a little less obvious to me. There's a quote that says something like "if mama aint happy nobody's happy". I think this goes to the heart of the matter - as the mother I set the tone of the home - that's a big responsibility for me. As of late I have been striving to be extra happy and positive in the mornings, trying to wake up before the kids, so that I can be the first one to set the tone for the day. If I'm slow to get out of bed and drag myself to get ready the day tends to have a slow dragginess to it. We really can decide our attitude and how we will respond to things. There is a story in the New Era (June 2007, Doing Dishes) that talks about a young woman who wasn't too keen on doing dishes, but was challenged by her Sunday School teacher to learn to love doing dishes. So every day for weeks she would tell herself that she loved doing dishes while she was doing them. After a while she realized that she did enjoy doing dishes ( I don't think it went as far to say that she "loved" doing them, but like is better than hate). I think I need to try this with some of my household chores. I don't have any that I feel strongly opposed to, but there are some that get greatly neglected and always pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
Listed under the additional resources for this lesson was the conference talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Creating a Gospel-Sharing Home". "Gospel-sharing homes are very ordinary. They may not always be spotlessly clan nor the children perfectly behaved. But they are a place in which family members clearly love each other, and the Spirit of the lord is felt by those who visit." He also talks about praying for missionary opportunities, and for us to "care, share, testify and invite".
One thing that I've been doing with my kids is helping the attitude and feeling in our home. I have been doing "morning devotional" with the kids each morning. We sing a song, pray, recite the Primary scripture of the month and then either read out of the Friend or read a scripture story or do an activity. Most mornings it goes okay, some mornings the kids complain and don't want to do it, most mornings they fight over who gets to lead the music and who gets to pray (I really need to make a chart so it's already pre-assigned).
Charlie really surprised me the other morning, because he's the strongest voice of opposition. He was up before Tom and I was on the couch in the living room, just starting my scripture study and he said, "mom, can we do morning devotional right now". I have to admit that my first thought was "after I finish my scripture study", because I never get it done, I always get interrupted. But I quickly said, "Ok" and we sang a song and he said the prayer and I don't remember what else - but I do remember that he was in a much better mood that day then he is on most days (he is a moody child).
I can see how establishing habits early on is such a good thing. I think that if we set the habits early on while they are young, and usually excited about such things, the habits will stick and will be easier to follow later on when life gets more hectic and less predictable. Charlie is usually the one that reminds us to do scriptures at night. We got in the habit of reading to the boys at night, right before turning out the light. If there is a night that we are late getting the boys to bed they won't go to bed until we've read scriptures - it's nice because it holds us accountable and we usually do it.